Where should you travel in 2023? 

Here are some of our family’s favorite U.S. destinations that we have visited while flying FREE on Southwest Airlines that we think you should add to your 2023 travel list.


5 Outstanding Southwest Airlines US Destinations to Visit in 2023

Southwest Airlines Arizona

Our family loves everything from the busy big city to beautiful outdoor escapes to beach fun, so you’ll find a good mix!

1.  Colorado Springs

Garden of the Gods, Colorado Springs
Garden of the Gods

One of my top picks for families is Colorado Springs, Colorado.

There are SO many things to do in Colorado Springs for families, especially if you love outdoor adventures!

Go to the top of Pikes Peak on a historic cog railway, hike the beautiful Garden of the Gods red rock structures, wander through an ancient cave at Cave of the Winds and see where ancient peoples lived in the side of cliffs at the Manitou Cliff Dwellings.

Colorado Springs boasts more than 300 days of sunshine a year, and it’s just an hour or so south of Denver, making it easy to access on Southwest!

Here are more things to do in Colorado Springs.


2.  Marco Island

JW Marriott Marco Island Marriott
Credit Jeff Herron

When it comes to Florida beaches, Marco Island is our absolute favorite.

It is as far south as you can go in Florida on the gulf side before reaching the Everglades.

The beautiful J.W. Marriott Marco Island is a wonderful spot for families with multiple restaurants, two large kid-friendly pools, large beaches with plentiful shells and awesome jet-ski tours into the nearby Ten Thousand Islands where you’ll definitely see lots of dolphin.

You never have to leave this hotel to have a blast!

We visited once in December and temperatures were still in the 70s!

To reach Marco Island, you fly into Ft. Myers’ Florida Southwest Airport and drive about an hour south.

More things to do on Marco Island.


3.  New York City

Big Bus Tours - New York Pass
Kids will never get bored in the Big Apple, but their feet might get a bit tired ;-)!

I always love to visit New York City and enjoy the city’s incredible energy! And this year, the city is going to need your visit more than ever as we recover from the pandemic.

There are SO many things to do in New York City, many of them free, that it makes a great place to keep kids entertained.

Walk the High Line in Chelsea, have a picnic in Central Park, walk through Washington Square Park and play on the playground, see the beautiful 9/11 Memorial and so much more.

Great paid attractions include Madame Tussaud’s, Top of the Rock, the Empire State Building, the 9/11 Museum, Big Bus Tours and the list goes on.

We are fans of the New York Pass, which gets you into 90+ attractions for as long as you purchase the pass.

It’s a tremendous time savings in researching and buying tickets and huge cost savings versus paying for tickets to attractions individually.

Southwest flies into LaGuardia Airport in Queens in New York City.


4.  San Diego

Torrey Pines State Reserve
Courtesy Lisa Field SanDiego.org


California is always one of our favorite places to visit, and of all the places we’ve seen up and down the Golden State, San Diego is our favorite, especially for families.

What to do in San Diego?

There is so much and like Colorado Springs they have a crazy number of sunny days with average high in the mid-70s most of the year.

Check out the San Diego Zoo, splash in the surf on one of their many beaches, kayak sea caves and meet sea lions in La Jolla and so much more!

Here is my long list of top things to do in San Diego.

Southwest flies right into San Diego, or if you can find a cheaper flight into Orange County or an L.A area airport, you can do the less than two-hour drive south down the beautiful Pacific Coast Highway.


5.  Zion and Bryce National Parks

Instead of the traditional beach spring break several years ago, my family decided instead to visit and hike both Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks in Utah.

All I can say is … wow! This is a definite must for everyone.

Southwestern Utah is like a scene from another planet and truly like nothing I’ve ever seen.

The red rocks, mesas and endless canyons are fascinating and amazing.

Our kids loved scrambling over rock after rock on many hikes through both.

In addition to visiting these National Parks, we loved Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park near Kanab where we surfed down sand dunes and Kodachrome Basin State Park closer to Bryce.

We also wandered through the Grand Escalante National Monument, whose protected land was recently reduced. We enjoyed the lack of crowds in all of these whereas the National Park were both very busy.

We flew into Las Vegas on Southwest and enjoyed a couple days of family fun there before making the three-hour drive to Kanab, Utah, which we used as our adventure base for exploring Zion National Park.

We then drove back flying out of Vegas to return home. Here are some of our favorite things to do in Las Vegas beyond the casinos.

Here are more great National Park hikes.

Here’s a video of our adventures:


Tell me, what’s on your travel list for 2023?


  • Lyn Mettler

    Lyn Mettler is a longtime travel writer for US News & World Report, USA Today 10Best and The TODAY Show who created Families Fly Free, a program which teaches families her simple system to use travel rewards to fly for free.

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